U.S. Secretary of State candidate Susan Rice has substantial interests in Canadian oil

In all likelihood, there will be a new Secretary of State in the United States.

Hillary Clinton is expected to step down shortly after President Obama's second inauguration in January, and her potential successor, Susan Rice, has some controversial Canadian connections.

According to On-Earth Magazine, Rice — the current U.S. Ambassador to the UN —"holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies" and could financially benefit from approval of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

As Secretary of State, Rice would be part of the decision making team who would have to approve the controversial project which would transfer 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Obama Sits Down With Cabinet, Hails RicePresident Obama had a meeting with his full cabinet for the first time since the election. He said turnover has been low during his first term because people have done good jobs. He also voiced support for Susan Rice at the United Nations. (Nov. 28)

The report claims that Rice and her husband have about one-third of their wealth invested in Canada's oil industry and between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada alone — the company leading the charge on the Keystone project.

[ Related: Shifting account of CIA's Libya talking points fuels Rice controversy ]

"It's really amazing that they're considering someone for Secretary of State who has millions invested in these companies," Bill McKibben, of 350.org and Tar Sands Action, told the magazine.

"The State Department has been rife with collusion with the Canadian pipeline builders, and it's really distressing to have any sense that that might continue to go on."

Ron Seifert, of the Tarsands Blockade group, told the Canadian Press that Rice's financial interest in TransCanada should 'raise alarm bells.'

"It's a tremendous conflict of interest," he said.

"This is sadly par for the course, and we hope there would be some integrity from the administration and they'd either decide against appointing her or she'd agree to divest herself immediately."

On-Earth notes that Rice's affinity for Canadian investments probably came from when she worked for McKinsey and Company in Toronto in the early nineties. Her husband is a Canuck — Rice is married to television producer Ian Cameron. Cameron worked as Executive Producer for ABC's 'World News', and 'This Week with Christiane Amanpour.' He was also a senior producer for CBC's The National in the early to mid-nineties.

Whether Rice ultimately gets the nomination remains to be seen.

According to Huffington Post, she has had some difficult meetings this week with Republicans on the Hill.  As part of the vigorous nomination process, Rice is going to need some Republican support.

[ Related: Rice meets with Republicans, fails to win them over ]

On Wednesday, she got some help from Clinton.

"Susan Rice has done a great job as our ambassador to the United Nations," the former First Lady said.

"Of course, this decision about my successor is up to the president, but I am very happy he has the opportunity with a second term to make a decision."

Rice would likely have to divest herself of her TransCanada stock if she gets the Secretary of State post.